You are all members, bondsman, hirelings, or even property of the noble house Malla of the city state of Raam ruled by the capricious sorcerer queen Abalach-Re. Things are not well in the city and house Malla works with a secret group of revolutionaries and preservers known as the veiled alliance to undermine the sorcerer queen.
The smell of blood is in the air now after the death of the sorcerer king Kalak at the hands of a slave revolt. For the first time the Sorcerer Kings have been proven mortal. Now the flame of rebellion has been fanned by mysterious raids on Raam’s trade routes starving the city and inching it closer to war with its neighbors. It is in this tense moment that house Malla instigated the greatest uprising that Raam has seen in over two hundred years. It was, of course, crushed quickly and utterly.
Lord Arun Malla and his family have been executed in the public square. Abalech-Re’s Templars march block by block killing the rebels and retaking the city. You are all that remains of house Malla and its estate is your last refuge from the wrath of the srocerer queen. The Templars are at the gates. It doesn’t matter who you were to house Malla; nothing matters now but survival.
What is Dark Sun?
The world is a desert. Athas is a hot, arid world covered with vast stretches of desert—endless seas of dunes, stony wastes, thorny scrublands, and worse. In this forbidding world, cities and villages can only exist in a few oases or verdant plains. Beyond these islands of civilization is a barren wasteland roamed by nomads, raiders, and hungry monsters.
The world is savage. Life is brutal and short in Athas. The vile institution of slavery is widespread in Athas, and hundreds, perhaps thousands, are sent to their deaths every year in bloody arena spectacles. Metal is quite scarce. Arms and armor are often made of bone, stone, wood, and other such materials, because steel is priceless.
Arcane magic defiles the world. Athas was reduced to a wasteland by the reckless use of arcane magic in ancient wars. To cast an arcane spell, one must gather power from the living world around. Plants wither to black ash, crippling pain wracks animals and people, and the soil itself is sterilized; nothing can grow in that spot again.
Terrible sorcerer-kings rule the cities. The city-states of Athas are ruled by defilers of immense power. These mighty spellcasters have held their thrones for centuries. The sorcerer-kings govern through templars, a class of officials and lesser defilers who can call upon the kings’ powers.
The gods of Athas are silent. Athas is a world without gods. There are no clerics, no paladins, no prophets or religious orders. In the absence of divine influence, people have turned to other sources of power. Psionic power is well known and widely practiced in Athas, while shamans and druids call upon the primal powers of the world—even though the primal spirits of Athas are often wild and vengeful.
Fierce and deadly monsters populate the world. Athas is home to its own deadly ecology. Cattle, horses, camels—none of these animals can be found in Athas. Instead, people tend flocks of erdlus, ride on kanks or crodlus, and draw wagons with inixes and mekillots. Wild creatures such as lions, bears, or wolves are almost nonexistent. In their place are terrors such as the id beast, the so-ut, or the tembo.
Familiar races aren’t what you expect. Many of the fantasy stereotypes don’t apply to Athasian heroes. On Athas, elves are a nomadic race of herders, raiders, peddlers, and thieves. Halflings aren’t amiable river-folk; they’re xenophobic headhunters and cannibals who hunt and kill anyone foolish enough to venture into their montane forests. Each of the major races has adapted to Athas in new and unexpected ways.